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Changing Your Name During or After Divorce in Texas

It's common for a divorcing person to want to change their name. Some people choose to restore their maiden name. This decision is a personal one and, if you decide to change your name, this is how to do it in Texas.

How to change your name in Texas before your divorce is final

If you want to change your name before your divorce is final, you'll need to file a petition for a name change. This will be a legal matter outside of your divorce proceedings.

Why would you want to do this? Some people, especially those in shorter marriages, want to restore their maiden name and resume its legal use as soon as possible. Others simply don't want to wait until their divorce is finalized.

How to change your name in Texas during divorce proceedings

You can specify in your divorce petition or response that you want your name restored to your maiden name. The judge will adhere to your request and restore or change your name in the final divorce decree.

Going this route requires less paperwork and expense, but it also means you'd need to wait until your divorce is finalized to legally use your maiden name again. If you're willing to wait, this may be your best option.

In Texas, you cannot request a change to a new name (other than your maiden name) in your divorce petition or response. You can only elect to resume your maiden name in this paperwork. If you want to change your married name to something new, a separate legal process is required.

How to change your name in Texas after your divorce is final

If you did not request a name change during your divorce proceedings, you can still file a petition for a name change after your divorce proceedings have concluded. This is the only way to change your married name if it wasn't done in your divorce process.

To do this, you'll need a certified copy of your divorce decree. You may also need to go before a judge to answer a few questions. Courts want to make sure you're not requesting a name change to avoid creditors or criminal charges.

People pursue a legal name change during or after divorce for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they always disliked their old name and want a fresh start. Perhaps they simply believe a new name would make it easier to move forward with their new life post-divorce.

What to do after your name has been changed or restored

There are several practical considerations for people who change their name in Texas. For example, you will need to update various forms of state ID and documentation such as your driver's license, passport, and Social Security card. You may also need to inform businesses, banks, credit card companies, utility providers, healthcare providers, and other organizations about your new name.

It’s important to consider how changing your name might affect any children you share with your ex. If you share minor children and want to legally change a child’s name, you may need to get permission from the other parent by a court order or other means. 

Similarly, if you share a joint credit account with your ex and wish to change both names on the account to just one name, this will likely require the agreement of both parties.

If you change your name, don’t forget to update your utility providers, including your mobile phone provider. Also inform your bank of the change so they have up-to-date information on your bank accounts.

Changing your name with the SSA

When you change your legal name, you must update it with the Social Security Administration (SSA), assuming you updated the agency when you got married. You'll need to provide a copy of your divorce decree along with a copy of your passport or state driver's license. If you're using the latter, make sure it has been updated first.

You may need to provide a copy of your birth certificate with your maiden name, too. And, if you want certified copies of these changes, like an updated Social Security card, you may have to send payment first.

Changing your name with the DMV

Your driver's license must be in your correct name. This will likely require a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with your old driver's license, a certified copy of your divorce decree, and a certified copy of your name change order.

As you’ll be getting a new driver’s license, you will also need to make a payment. Most DMV locations in Texas take all payment forms.

If you’re getting divorced in Texas and have questions about the process, we can help. Visit our calendar here to schedule your free one-on-one phone meeting with a Hello Divorce account coordinator. We can answer your questions and provide suggestions as you prepare for this big life change.